Khap Panchayat Allows Inter-caste Marriages

Amending more than 600-year-old norms, a khap phanchayat here has allowed inter-caste marriages.

The historic decision was taken by a five-member committee of the Satrol khap panchayat in Narnid village of the district here yesterday.

The panchayat also allowed marriages within 42 villages under its jurisdiction, which till now was banned.The khap, however, continued to ban inter-caste marriages in the same and bordering villages and same-gotra marriages.

The state is notorious for honour killing of young men and women who dare to marry outside their caste.

Terming the move as “courageous”, head of the Satrol khap panchayat Subedar Indra Singh told PTI, “The decision was taken in the wake of declining male-female sex ratio in the state and the changing social fabric of the society.

“The decision has been taken in order to improve male-female sex ratio in the state. The current norms in marriage were some 600-700 years old and now, times have changed,” said Singh, emphasizing that the changes in the society could not be ignored.

“Nowadays, interaction between men and women has increased and it is not possible to keep them away from each other. Getting into love relationships is very common.”

“Incidents of honour killings have taken place owing to khap norms on marriages. Cases of female foeticide have also led us to take this decision,” Singh said.

He, however, denied any case of honour killing or female infanticide taking place in the villages under Satrol khap panchayat.

The decision has been welcomed by heads of various other khap panchayats in Haryana and many of them are mulling the idea of implementing the decision in their respective regions as well.

National spokesperson of Sarvajat-Sarvakhap panchayat Sube Singh Samaen said it was a historic decision and efforts would be made to implement the order in other panchayats also.

Representative of Naugaon khap in Jind district and sarpanch of the Bibipur village Sunil Jaglan said, “It is a brave move and has showed the way to other khaps also.”

Lauding the decision, Kandela khap panchayat head Tekram Kandela said they planned to call a mahapanchayat of heads to prepare a memorandum to make amendments in Hindu Marriage Act, which bars marriage within same gotra and village.

“We will hand over the memorandum to the President and Prime Minister of the newly elected government to amend laws in the Hindu Marriage Act,” said Kandela.

Some khap panchayats have, however, opposed the decision.

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